As I write this, the Atlanta Braves are in the 11th inning in a game they desperately need to win in order to get the Wildcard for the National League. But win or lose, it is worth taking a second to celebrate the career of Bobby Cox. Cox only has a week left as the Braves’ manager, having had the job for over 20 years. Even though I am not a huge baseball guy, the Atlanta Braves are my second favorite team in sports behind UK and I have followed this season as closely as any since I went to college. Cox is on his farewell tour after taking the Braves to numerous playoffs and winning one World Series. He is a legend of baseball and an old school guy to the max. He will retire as one of the best modern managers in the game and the all-time leader in ejections, a Hall of Fame worthy accomplishment in and of itself. When you read this, you will probably know if the Braves (or my other team, the Bears), ended up winning. If they didnt however, throw a salute to Cox either way…there wont be another like him.
To the notes:
— John Calipari spoke in Birmingham today and hit on a number of topics that are addressed in detail in this article. Among the topics are his discussion about agents (which he had with us on the show last week), his belief that Wall or Cousins will be NBA Rookie of the Year and his belief that Kentucky was hurt against West Virginia because they looked ahead to Duke (not sure if I agree with that one). He declined to address the Eric Bledsoe situation, much to the dismay of the Birmingham reporter who covered the event. Still a very good read on a number of issues Calipari handled.
— At today’s press conference, Joker focused on two major topics. The first was the huge importance of the game in Oxford on Saturday. I give Joker a great deal of credit for acknowledging what is the reality…the Cats must win on Saturday in order to have a special season. They can have a good season without a win and can make another bowl game in Tennessee. But, if you want to do something great, you have to win in Oxford. One of the things I have liked about Joker from the beginning is that he is always up front and honest…today was an example of that trait.
— Phillips also focused on the player that is likely the best story early in the year, WR Chris Matthews. We have waited for Matthews to come on for some time, but now this season he has become the downfield threat UK has needed. He has shown an ability to beat defenders for balls thrown up for grabs and his success has caused many of us to wonder why more balls arent thrown his way. Joker said today that Matthews can play in the NFL if he continues his path so far this year, but more importantly for UK, he is the key to getting a passing game going consistently.
— It was sad to hear about the death of George Blanda, but it is good that fans can honor one of the best UK players to ever put on the uniform. Blanda was one of the most successful UK QBs in history, taking the team to the Orange Bowl and helping Bear Bryant put his career on the map. He then went to the NFL, where he looked the part of the grizzled old veteran, even as a young man. The oldest football player ever to play the game has his roots at Kentucky and it is good to see him get the recognition he deserves.
— The Cats will play Auburn at night, allowing for the Keeneland-UK doubleheader on the first Saturday of the meet. Those who complete the doubleheader are hearty souls and I am sure the officials at Keeneland are happy it is not a day game. But most importantly, the game is on ESPN or ESPN2 and will give the Cats a chance to make a national splash with people watching, something they couldnt do last week.
— John Wall opened up his time with the Wizards tonight with a Midnight Madness practice and a meet and greet with the media. Gilbert Arenas and John Wall playing together is the story in Washington and as a former Wizards season ticket holder (for one year), I admit it makes me nervous. The good thing is that Wall is not an easily rattled kid and any negativity from Arenas will not rub off on him. Watching the games with Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe, etc will make this NBA season much more interesting than normal.
— I am really enjoying Boardwalk Empire, but havent really seen any of the other new shoes on television. I hear the Jimmy Smits Supreme Court show is terrible, which means I have to see it. As far as returning shows, “Mad Men” is brilliant this season and I will still laugh at any episode of “Always Sunny.” What saddens me more than anything however is to watch the decline of “The Office.” Please dont go on after Carrell leaves…there is no point.
— It was the lottery for Midnight Madness tickets for the students tonight leading to Campout on Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum. The Campout was one of the cooler events of the year last year and I expect to see another great event this year. The players really embrace it and they all showed up for the lottery tonight. Pictures with Enes and the crew will be prevalent and an appearance by our man Drew Franklin taking pictures is sure to get the ladies excited. You should definitely go if you can.
— I meant to say this earlier today but forgot…we love you Coach Cal, but please no more tweeting about CEOs or friends of the program during football games. It really is poor form.
— In case you have forgotten (or only seen what the national media writes), Kansas still doesnt have Josh Selby cleared for this year. If he played for Kentucky, it would be written by every writer in America…instead you only know if you read Kansas fan sites (which unfortunately I do).
— Big time Kentucky fan Tucker Max‘s new book is released today. Tucker loves the Cats and KSR and I hope he sells a million plus copies yet again.
We have a big show coming in the morning on the radio….Mark Krebs will be in studio all day and Gregg Doyel will be on the phone to talk about Bledsoe/Thamel. It should be very good. Today had some great Oscar Combs lines and talk about the football game. Listen below or (better yet) subscribe on iTunes: